of the CWA, particularly business, did not agree at all with the ideological
orientation of the program. However, it is equally clear that the parts of the
CWA program to which business did object were seen to be so detrimental
to their cause that neither business nor social work could let the CWA
continue. Put another way, it is difficult to envision the CWA turning out
the way it did had business or social workers been involved in its initial
planning. This, I believe, makes the CWA a clear instance of state autonomy.
With regard to newness, the CWA was distinct from any previous work
relief plan. The goal of making the CWA an emergency employment
corporation rather than a relief program led to a federally funded and
administered program that hired workers on the basis of skill and paid them
wages that were equal to those offered by private industry. As such, the CWA
differed dramatically from work relief prior to the depression, which was
used only for punitive purposes, and differed from early depression relief
policy that was locally administered and given out on the basis of needs of
See, for example,
G. William Domhoff, "Corporate Liberal Theory and
the Social Security Act"," Politics and Society 15 (Winter 1986): 297-330;
Jill S. Quadagno
, "Welfare Capitalism and the Social Security Act of 1935"," American
Sociological Review 49 ( October 1984): 632-647.
Ann S. Orloff and
Theda Skocpol, "Why Not Equal Protection: Explaining
the Politics of Public Social Spending in Britain, 1900-1911, and the United States,
1880's-1920"," American Sociological Review 49 ( December 1984): 726-750.
Many writers in this debate use this phrase. See, for example,
Kenneth Finegold, "State Capacity and Economic Intervention in the
Early New Deal"," Political Science Quarterly 97 (Summer 1982): 259.
See, for example,
G. William Domhoff, The Power Elite and the State
( New York: De Gruyter Press), 1990;
J. Craig Jenkins and
Barbara Brents, "Social
Protest, Hegemonic Competition and Social Reform: A Political Struggle Interpretation of the Origins of the American Welfare State"," American Sociological
Review 54 ( 1989): 891-909;
Quadagno, "Welfare Capitalism and the Social
Security Act of 1935"."
Perhaps the best example of a quickly developed policy that was controlled
by societal elites is the Emergency Banking Act, which was written and passed
through Congress in eight days. The best discussions of bankers' influence on this
legislation are Robert McElvaine, The Great Depression ( New York: Times
Books, 1984), pp. 139-142;
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Coming of the New
Deal ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959), pp. 4-10.